In the past, it was possible to live with delightful confusion: one could be English or British, Scottish or Irish, and a citizen/ subject of the United Kingdom (or Great Britain).
Now this archaic state is coming under terrible strain. The English revolt against Europe is also a revolt against the Scottish and Irish, and the pressures to declare Scottish independence and to push for a border poll that would unite Ireland may become irresistible.
Can England and Wales find a way of dealing with the state's new place in the world? What constitutional, federal arrangements might prevent the disintegration of the British state? ‘How Britain Ends’ is a book about history, but also about the strange, complicated identity of Britishness.
Gavin Esler is an award-winning television and radio broadcaster, writer and journalist. He is the author of five novels and several non-fiction books: ‘The United States of Anger’, drawing on his experience as the BBC’s Chief North America Correspondent; ‘Lessons from the Top’, a study of how leaders tell stories to make other people follow them; and ‘Brexit Without the Bullshit’, a short reality-check about the false promises offered by those arguing for our place outside the European Union.
“In the coming years, many people will be writing about the end of the UK. They'll all quote this wonderful and curiously moving book. I know I will.”
-James Hawes, author of The Shortest History of England